Hello Ennio; one year ago Solema celebrated its 40th anniversary. Can you tell us how the idea of starting the company arise?
The idea of opening Solema came at the end of a previous experience in a company founded by me with another partner in the early 70s, at the age of 20. This company produced bookbinding machines and among these machines I had patented the world’s first stacker that alternated spines and worked for both soft- and hardcover books.
After that experience, I felt ready to begin another business, so in 1982 I decided to give life to Solema. And almost immediately my brother Raffaello joined the project. I had one goal: design the best possible automation in the book production world. In those days, automation for manufacturing was almost non-existent.
Automation had three important purposes: reducing the backbreaking and repetitive manual work for the production machines, optimizing spaces, and speeding up production.
So we immediately started with simple projects such as conveyors and curves, then arriving to a fleet of machines which, to date, counts on over 50 models including the Pluton palletizer, which is still the most produced palletizer in bookbinding.
It was 1982, what do you remember in particular of that beginning year of Solema?
The memory immediately goes to our first workshop, obtained from a space that belonged to an uncle who produced tiles and who had recently retired: two small rooms measuring 5 by 4 metres, very, very small.
At the beginning we started the business with 5 people. Today, we are around 80 people, between collaborators and employees.
Last year you celebrated 40 years in business: the intuition, therefore, proved to be right…
Solema 40th birthday is an important milestone, proof that we have worked well over the years, making the right decisions and managing to keep up with the times.
At Solema we have always tried to be innovative by making the best use of technology. This is demonstrated by the fact that we had been the first in the sector to use plasma computers for technical drawing and for designing layouts, the ones with the orange screen, for instance.
This was a successful attitude, because we used to go to our customers with a laptop and design the layout directly on site, under the eyes of those who commissioned them, providing a solution and a price in a few hours. Our competitors had much longer times, weeks or months, for the same job for sure.
All Solema products, machines and plants, are built in our workshop with CNC machines and tools machines that are always up-to-date; this has also contributed to the rapid development of new products in addition to mass production.
Another strong point of Solema has been the ability to design products starting from the project and following the entire cycle to develop a machine, building the electrical part and the operating software.
The average age of employees in Solema is very low, around 39, and this is another highlight of Solema. Has this tendency to work with young people always been a feature?
Even if I’m not a fan of statistics, I like that the average age of those who work with us is 39 years old.
Perhaps it depends on the fact that Solema has always had a good reputation in our area and this has prompted many young people to come and work for us.
But it is also the result of what we had strongly wanted from the start: to surround ourselves with a young workforce that would bring a breath of fresh air. I believe that in order to grow it is necessary to bring continuously new lifeblood and energy into the company and it is a duty of the company to bring everyone to the highest skill level.
What are the strengths that have led you to be who you are?
In recent years I have always tried to create the most comfortable and beautiful workplace possible, which welcomes and puts those who have to work there at ease.
I believe that one of Solema strengths is: being a friendly and people-oriented workplace.
And then certainly keeping up with the times, as I said before, working with well-trained, attentive and competent collaborators and, lastly, having scrupulous and continuous attention towards the product and the customer, to the point of being able to say that I don’t think there is dissatisfied customer with our products and services.
Could you tell us where the name Solema comes from?
Many people ask me the reason for the name SOLEMA. I’ll take advantage of this interview to reveal that it is not the acronym ‘SOluzioni LEgatoria MAzzola’ (Mazzola bookbinding solutions), as many people think.
The truth is that I was looking for a made-up name that had a pleasant sound and worked in all languages of the world: Solema sounded really good and it’s a simple name that everyone can pronounce easily.
Finally, is there anyone in particular that you would like to thank for these successful years?
A special thanks goes to my siblings Raffaello and Maria Teresa, who have always helped me inside and outside the company.
I also thank all the employees, current and former, for their availability and professionalism. Finally, I thank Luca Parsani, Chief Executive Officer, Giuseppe Magri, Administrative Director, and Luca Borella, Sales Director. The evolutionary and technological development of Solema in recent years is due to them and their respective work teams.
For more information about Solema, write to email@example.com or call 035 654111.